“The word decision means literally ‘to cut away.’ When one makes a decision, one is making choices, which includes the choice of being willing to give something up… the less confidence leaders have in their ability to stand alone after they make a decision, the less likely they are to make one.” – Edwin Friedman
When I read this, a lightbulb went on… and revealed an ugly and scared place that desperately needs the wilderness of Lent.
I have a love / hate relationship with decisions. I can be fairly decisive (or is it impulsive) and then agonize over whether I made the right choice… or, I can be extremely hesitant to decide because I don’t want to eliminate any possibilities.
As an example, we recently decided to buy a new washing machine. And so I started doing research into a new washing machine: brands, reliability, features, cost, stores, warranties, etc.
I bought a washer / dryer pair at a deep discount at a local appliance store and scheduled the delivery for two weeks later.
One week later, I had gotten my money back and canceled the delivery… deciding we didn’t actually NEED a new washer. The one we currently had actually worked. It cleaned our clothes well enough. It didn’t need quarters. It seemed like a ‘white people problem’ to even consider buying a new machine.
One week after that, I was back in the store, buying another washing machine...
This is a ridiculous example of my failure of nerve.
As I’ve started reading this book, I keep recognizing myself as a leader who lacks nerve. I haven’t yet worked through whether, as Christ followers, we are called to be the kind of leaders that Friedman is calling for, but I am taking his criticisms to heart.
This fear of standing alone after the decision is made… (and I'm not talking washing machines here, I'm talking parenting, ministry, relationships - everything) is the wilderness where I need to go and meet God during this Lenten season. This is the fear that cripples me as a leader… especially because I think I fall into the lie of believing that I stand alone. What would God be able to do through me if I stopped fearing the fall out of decisions... and willingly entered the sabotage and suffering that will surely follow any truly courageous choice?